TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Key Mapper
Volume Number:2
Issue Number:10
Column Tag:Forth Forum

Keyboard Re-Mapper Utility

By Jörg Langowski, MacTutor Editorial Board

Keyboard configuration and reconfiguration

This time I'd like to address a problem that is rather neglected in Inside Macintosh, but not by MacTutor, and that is the configuration of the Mac keyboard. [As background, you may wish to refer to the August issue for an article by Joel West and David Smith on the Keyboard Sleuth.] The section on international resources mentions the different existing keyboards, their layouts and the keycodes; but it is nowhere said explicitly how the keycode that is sent out when a key is pressed is mapped to an ASCII character and where the tables are kept that are used for that assignment.

There is one program, the Localizer, that is generally used to change the keyboard configuration from one layout to another. This works well for the standard keyboards that come for the different countries in which the Mac is sold. It would be very convenient, though, to be able to change the keyboard mapping according to one's taste. That way one could layout a Dvorak keyboard or make simple changes just to have some different symbols available, without changing the whole keyboard arrangement. As an example, I prefer to have a decimal point instead of a comma on my (German) Mac+ numeric keypad, without changing the rest of the layout so that all the symbols stay where they are. There is no 'canned' configuration in the localizer that provides for this change. So, here's a nice chance to write a small application in Forth that does something useful and at the same time show some instructive details about how the keyboard is configured.

The INIT 0 and INIT 1 resources

Doing so requires some NOSYing around in the routines that translate keycodes into ASCII characters. These routines are built at system initialization time through the INIT resources ID=0 and ID=1. [One can find this out easily by looking at the Localizer, which contains quite a few INIT resources that all look very much the same except for some tables that contain the actual keyboard mapping]. Disassembly reveals how a keycode is translated into an ASCII character by the INIT routines. See Listing 1. The modifier bits (Shift, Option, Caps Lock) are taken as an index into a small offset table, from which the beginning of the actual translation table is obtained. The keycode then serves as an index into that table. Two different translation tables exist for the old Mac and the Mac+ keyboards. The keyboard type is read from the system global KybdType at $21E, which is continually being updated by the background routine that checks for the presence of a keyboard. A hex $B here means we have a Mac+ keyboard plugged in, other numbers so far refer to the old keyboard, and keypad, optionally. [A zero means, there is no keyboard... but in that case, we'll never get to this routine anyway...]

A very simple way to change the translation table to our preferences is to emulate the table lookup process in Forth, starting with the keycode. Mach1 (also the new version Mach2) contains the word ?TERMINAL which returns the character code, keycode and modifier flags if a key has been pressed.

Fig. 1 Our Keyboard Remapper in Mach2

Listing 2 defines a couple of words that will return the absolute address of the translation table entry from the keycode and modifiers. keycode and modifiers return the respective fields. keyaddress, given a modifier / keycode input on the stack, determines which INIT resource to use (INIT 0 for the main keyboard and INIT 1 for the numeric keypad), leaves a handle to that resource on the stack and the table entry's address on top of it. This address can then be used by the remapping routine to put a new entry into the table. The handle will be used to call _ChangedResource to mark the INIT resource as changed so that it is rewritten when _UpdateResource is called at the end. and are words that are used by keyaddress to determine the beginning of the translation tables for the main and numeric keyboards. They are somewhat kludgy as they make use of the internal structure of the INIT 0 and INIT1 resource codes, reading the table addresses out of the LEA <data>,A0 instructions at the beginning of the code. When a system is released where those instructions occur in different positions, my program will get completely lost. In that case, it would either have to be modified to accommodate the new addresses or the kludge would have to be generalized, using a routine that looks for a LEA <data>,A0 instruction. All this is embarassingly bad programming style, but it was the simplest way that I could think up to find the table addresses.

The INIT resources are read once at the beginning of the main word remap and stored in two variables hand0 and hand1. remap itself is an endless loop which comprises the user dialog for remapping of the keys. When the user hits the go-away box, the loop is exited through a vector which is installed in the task's goaway-hook; the resource file is updated (file id=0 indicates the System file), and control is returned to the Finder.

The program can be compiled into a standalone application through the normal turnkey process built into Mach1; a turnkeyed version can be found on the MacTutor source disk.

While the remapper is being used, the INIT resources already in memory from boot-up will of course stay as they are. Only the copies of INIT 0 and INIT 1 in the present System file are changed and rewritten. This means that your keyboard will stay in its old configuration until you reboot with the disk that contains the changed System file.

Mach2, assembler bug, etc.

The new version of Mach - Mach2 - has been released a long time ago as you read this. As I write this, however, I have just taken a short look at the changes and improvements that have been made. The main change for execution speed is that the DO...LOOP index and limit have been moved from the loop stack into registers (only the innermost loop). This speeds up loop execution tremendously, so that the famous Sieve now executes in just about seven and one half seconds, which is only one second slower than TML Pascal code. Another benchmark I wrote that does 50 screen inversions (explicitly, without calling InvertRect) also executes only about 15% slower than Pascal code.

The disadvantage is that many more registers are now being internally used by the Mach2 system. In fact, Palo Alto Shipping warned me not to use any registers in CODE definitions without saving and restoring them. Therefore, if you try to use the floating point routines or many of the other examples that you could find here with Mach2, you're likely to be disappointed. Inserting MOVEM.L A0-A4/D0-D7,-(A7) and MOVEM.L (A7)+, A0-A4/D0-D7 in strategic places will help tremendously to fight frustration in that case.

The assembler bug which caused faulty coding of some instructions (seeV2#8) has been fixed, and they even promised that the Forth debugger would work Real Soon Now. Meanwhile, TMON is still the best way to debug with Mach2.

Where did the $%&§ output go...

A multitasking system like Mach has its peculiarities, which have to be learned. Somebody from the local developer's group had problems getting Quickdraw calls drawing into a window he had set up in Mach1. When he would turnkey the program, however, everything would work fine. It seemed like under some circumstances, with the Mach1 system window open, the system would use a different grafPort from what he thought.

There is a rather simple explanation to this problem. Mach1 keeps a flashing cursor going in any window in which QUIT, the interpreter main loop, is running, which causes the current port to be reset to that window's grafPort. It is the programmer's responsibility to make sure that the currently active grafPort is the one that one wants to use. Since any task keeps a pointer to its associated window in a user variable, this is easy to achieve by doing a _setPort to this window. (One could argue that the task scheduler should automatically reset the current port to the task's own window. In my opinion, that would not be a good idea, since it would create a lot of overhead on switching tasks. Furthermore, the task actually might want to use another grafPort, this would make the initial resetting unnecessary anyway.)

Listing 1: excerpts from the INIT0 and INIT1 key translation routines
; alphanumeric keyboard translator, Apple System File
INIT0  BRA     com_1 ; setup jump vector

proc2    BRA.S   lac_2
data1    DC.W    $FFFF,$4B45,$5943,1,$301,0

proc3    LEA     data8,A0    ; Mac+ translate table
 CMPI.B  #11,KybdType ; 11 = Mac+
 BEQ.S   lac_1
  LEA     data9,A0    ; old Mac translate table
lac_1    MOVEQ   #7,D0
 AND     D1,D0
 ADD     D0,D0 ; modifier byte*2
 MOVE    0(A0,D0.W),D0 ; offset for modifiers 
 ADD     D2,D0
 MOVE.B  0(A0,D0.W),D0 ; table entry

lac_2    CMPI    #52,D2 ; main entry point, D2 contains keycode
 BHI.S   lac_3  ; was modifier key pressed?
 BSR     proc3  ; if not, translate through table
 TST.B   KeyMap+6
 BPL.S   lac_4 ; if no control key
 BTST    #0,D1 ; shift pressed?
 BEQ.S   lac_4
 BTST    #2,D1 ; option pressed?
 BNE.S   lac_4
 BCLR    #0,D1 ; clear shift bit
 BSR     proc3  ; and retranslate
 CMPI.B  #48,D0 ; is it
 BCS.S   lac_4 ; a number key?
   CMPI.B  #57,D0
 BHI.S   lac_4
 TST.B   D3
 BMI.S   lac_4
 TST.B   ScrDmpEnb ; deal with FKEYs
 BEQ.S   lac_4
 SUBI.B  #48,D0
 MOVE.B  D0,ScrDmpType
lac_3    MOVEQ   #0,D0
lac_4    .
 . ( code that deals with diacritical marks,
 .  etc. etc. )

data8    ; Mac+ key translate table (German keyboard)
 DC.W    $10,$45,$7A,$45,$AF,$E4,$119,$E4
 ; ( offsets for modifier keys)
  DC.W    $6173,$6466,$6867,$7978,$6376,$62,$7177,$6572

  DC.W    $AEC6,$CEB2,$B0D0,$7EB5,$C909,$CAD4,$800

data9    ; Old Mac key translate table (German keyboard)
 DC.W    $10,$45,$7A,$45,$AF,$E4,$119,$E4
 ; ( offsets for modifier keys)
  DC.W  $6173,$6466,$6867,$3C79,$7863,$2D76,$7177, $6572
 . ( DC.W offsets for modifiers etc.)
  DC.W    $AEF1,$CE0D,$F7C9,$F5F6,$F809,$3D4,$8CA
com_1    LEA     proc2,A0
 MOVE.L  A0,Key1Trans  ; $29E
; numeric keypad translator
INIT1  BRA     com_1 ; setup jump vector
proc2    LEA     data1,A0    ; translate table
 CMPI.B  #11,KybdType ; 11 = Mac+
 BEQ.S   lac_1
 ADDA.W  #64,A0 ; offset for old Mac
lac_1    LSR     #1,D1
 BCC.S   lac_2
 ADDA.W  #32,A0 ; offset for shift key
lac_2    ANDI.B  #$1F,D2
 MOVE.B  0(A0,D2.W),D0 ; get table entry
data1    DC.W    $2C,$1D00,0,$1C1B,$1F00,0,$31E,$2D00
  DC.W    0,$3031,$3233,$3435,$3637,$38,$3900,0
  DC.W    $2E,$2A00,0,$2B1B,$3D00,0,$32F,$2D00
  DC.W    0,$3031,$3233,$3435,$3637,$38,$3900,0
  DC.W    $2C,$1D00,0,$1C1B,$1F00,0,$31E,$2D00
  DC.W    0,$3031,$3233,$3435,$3637,$38,$3900,0
  DC.W    $2C,$2A00,0,$2B1B,$2E00,0,$32F,$2D00
  DC.W    0,$3031,$3233,$3435,$3637,$38,$3900,0
com_1    LEA     proc2,A0
 MOVE.L  A0,Key2Trans
Listing 2: Reconfiguring the Keyboard routines INIT 0 and INIT 1
( Keyboard reconfigurator, c 1986 J. Langowski / MacTutor )
( For reconfiguration of individual keys without using the Localizer 

only forth also assembler also mac

494e4954 constant "init
21e constant keyb.type  ( B: Mac+ )
variable hand0  variable hand1

: get.handles
 "init 0 call getresource hand0 !
 "init 1 call getresource hand1 !
: ( | handle )
 hand0 @ dup @ 7fffff and 14 + 
 keyb.type c@ B <> if C + then  dup w@ +
: ( | handle )
 hand1 @ dup @ 7fffff and 6 + dup w@ +
 keyb.type c@ B <> if 40 + then  
: keyin
 begin 2d emit 8 emit ?terminal ?dup until
: keycode ( extracts keycode out of keyinfo )
 100 / ff and ;

: modifiers ( extracts modifiers from keyinfo )
 1000000 / ff and ;

: keyaddress { | mods keyc -- handle offset }
 dup  modifiers -> mods  keycode -> keyc
 keyc 41 < if 
 dup mods E and + w@ + keyc + 
 mods 2 and
 if ( shift key down) 20 + then
 keyc 1f and +
: keytest
 begin keyin keyaddress c@ emit key drop drop again 
: get&show ( | handle offset )
 keyin dup key emit ."  - Keycode = " 
 dup modifiers swap keycode . 
 ." , Modifiers = " binary 
 <# # # # # #> type decimal 
 keyaddress dup c@ 
 ." , actual mapping - " emit cr
: keynum cr 
 begin get&show drop drop again

: hello 
 ." Macintosh Keyboard Remapper" cr
 ." © 1986 J.Langowski / MacTutor" cr cr
 ." Closing the window will update the resource file." cr cr
: yesno begin key dup emit 
 89 of 1 1 endof  121 of 1 1 endof
 78 of 0 1 endof  110 of 0 1 endof
 cr ." y or n - " 0 swap
: on.goaway 0 call updateresfile bye ;
: remap
 ." Type the key you'd like to change - " cr
 get&show ( | handle offset )
 ." Do you want to remap this key (y/n) - " yesno cr
 ." Enter the character to map this key to - "
 key dup emit cr 
 swap c! 
     ( store in mapping table of INIT resource)
 call changedresource
 else 2drop
 then cr
164 user goaway-hook

NEW.WINDOW remapper
" Keyboard Configuration Editor" remapper TITLE
50 20 316 496 remapper BOUNDS
 remapper ITEMS
600 5000 terminal mapper

: activate remap ;

: start
 remapper add
 remapper mapper build
 ['] on.goaway goaway-hook task-> mapper !
 remapper dup call selectwindow call setport

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

BetterTouchTool 2.417 - Customize multi-...
BetterTouchTool adds many new, fully customizable gestures to the Magic Mouse, Multi-Touch MacBook trackpad, and Magic Trackpad. These gestures are customizable: Magic Mouse: Pinch in / out (zoom... Read more
Mellel 4.1.0 - The word processor for sc...
Mellel is the leading word processor for OS X and has been widely considered the industry standard for long form documents since its inception. Mellel focuses on writers and scholars for technical... Read more
ScreenFlow 7.3 - Create screen recording...
ScreenFlow is powerful, easy-to-use screencasting software for the Mac. With ScreenFlow you can record the contents of your entire monitor while also capturing your video camera, microphone and your... Read more
Dashlane 5.9.0 - Password manager and se...
Dashlane is an award-winning service that revolutionizes the online experience by replacing the drudgery of everyday transactional processes with convenient, automated simplicity - in other words,... Read more
ForkLift 3.2 - Powerful file manager: FT...
ForkLift is a powerful file manager and ferociously fast FTP client clothed in a clean and versatile UI that offers the combination of absolute simplicity and raw power expected from a well-executed... Read more
Cocktail 11.5 - General maintenance and...
Cocktail is a general purpose utility for macOS that lets you clean, repair and optimize your Mac. It is a powerful digital toolset that helps hundreds of thousands of Mac users around the world get... Read more
Hazel 4.2.4 - Create rules for organizin...
Hazel is your personal housekeeper, organizing and cleaning folders based on rules you define. Hazel can also manage your trash and uninstall your applications. Organize your files using a familiar... Read more
Skype - Voice-over-internet pho...
Skype allows you to talk to friends, family, and co-workers across the Internet without the inconvenience of long distance telephone charges. Using peer-to-peer data transmission technology, Skype... Read more
Backup and Sync 3.40.8921.5350 - File ba...
Backup and Sync (was Google Drive) is a place where you can create, share, collaborate, and keep all of your stuff. Whether you're working with a friend on a joint research project, planning a... Read more
Dashlane 5.9.0 - Password manager and se...
Dashlane is an award-winning service that revolutionizes the online experience by replacing the drudgery of everyday transactional processes with convenient, automated simplicity - in other words,... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Destiny meets its mobile match - Everyth...
Shadowgun Legends is the latest game in the Shadowgun series, and it's taking the franchise in some interesting new directions. Which is good news. The even better news is that it's coming out tomorrow, so if you didn't make it into the beta you... | Read more »
How PUBG, Fortnite, and the battle royal...
The history of the battle royale genre isn't a long one. While the nascent parts of the experience have existed ever since players first started killing one another online, it's really only in the past six years that the genre has coalesced into... | Read more »
Around the Empire: What have you missed...
Oh hi nice reader, and thanks for popping in to check out our weekly round-up of all the stuff that you might have missed across the Steel Media network. Yeah, that's right, it's a big ol' network. Obviously 148Apps is the best, but there are some... | Read more »
All the best games on sale for iPhone an...
It might not have been the greatest week for new releases on the App Store, but don't let that get you down, because there are some truly incredible games on sale for iPhone and iPad right now. Seriously, you could buy anything on this list and I... | Read more »
Everything You Need to Know About The Fo...
In just over a week, Epic Games has made a flurry of announcements. First, they revealed that Fortnite—their ultra-popular PUBG competitor—is coming to mobile. This was followed by brief sign-up period for interested beta testers before sending out... | Read more »
The best games that came out for iPhone...
It's not been the best week for games on the App Store. There are a few decent ones here and there, but nothing that's really going to make you throw down what you're doing and run to the nearest WiFi hotspot in order to download it. That's not to... | Read more »
Death Coming (Games)
Death Coming Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: (iTunes) Description: --- Background Story ---You Died. Pure and simple, but death was not the end. You have become an agent of Death: a... | Read more »
Hints, tips, and tricks for Empires and...
Empires and Puzzles is a slick match-stuff RPG that mixes in a bunch of city-building aspects to keep things fresh. And it's currently the Game of the Day over on the App Store. So, if you're picking it up for the first time today, we thought it'd... | Read more »
What You Need to Know About Sam Barlow’s...
Sam Barlow’s follow up to Her Story is #WarGames, an interactive video series that reimagines the 1983 film WarGames in a more present day context. It’s not exactly a game, but it’s definitely still interesting. Here are the top things you should... | Read more »
Pixel Plex Guide - How to Build Better T...
Pixel Plex is the latest city builder that has come to the App Store, and it takes a pretty different tact than the ones that came before it. Instead of being in charge of your own city by yourself, you have to work together with other players to... | Read more »

Price Scanner via

Back in stock! Apple’s full line of Certified...
Save $300-$300 on the purchase of a 2017 13″ MacBook Pro today with Certified Refurbished models at Apple. Apple’s refurbished prices are the lowest available for each model from any reseller. A... Read more
Back in stock: 13-inch 2.5GHz MacBook Pro (Ce...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 13″ 2.5GHz MacBook Pros (MD101LL/A) available for $829, or $270 off original MSRP. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and shipping is free: – 13″ 2.5GHz MacBook... Read more
Apple restocks Certified Refurbished 2017 13″...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2017 13″ MacBook Airs available starting at $849. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each MacBook, and shipping is free: – 13″ 1.8GHz/8GB/128GB MacBook Air (... Read more
8-Core iMac Pro on sale for $4699, save $300
Amazon has the 8-core iMac Pro on sale for $4699 including free shipping. Their price is $300 off MSRP, and it’s the currently lowest price available for an iMac Pro. For the latest up-to-date prices... Read more
10″ 512GB WiFi iPad Pros on sale for $849, sa...
B&H Photo has Space Gray and Rose Gold 10.5″ 512GB WiFi iPad Pros on sale for $849. Their price is $150 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for these models, new, from any Apple... Read more
MacBook Pro sale! B&H drops prices on new...
B&H Photo has dropped prices on new 2017 13″ MacBook Pros, with models now on sale for up to $200 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges sales tax for NY & NJ residents only. Their... Read more
13″ MacBook Airs on sale for $100-$150 off MS...
B&H Photo has 13″ MacBook Airs on sale for $100-$150 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges sales tax for NY & NJ residents only: – 13″ 1.8GHz/128GB MacBook Air (MQD32LL/A): $899, $... Read more
Huge iMac sale! Apple reseller now offering 2...
B&H Photo has new 2017 21″ & 27″ iMacs on sale today for up to $300 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges sales tax for NY & NJ residents only: – 27″ 3.8GHz iMac (MNED2LL/A): $... Read more
Sale! 1.4GHz Mac mini for $399, $100 off MSRP
B&H Photo has the 1.4GHz Mac mini on sale for $399 for a limited time. Their price is $100 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for a mini from any Apple reseller: – 1.4GHz Mac mini (... Read more
Sale of the year continues as Apple resellers...
Adorama has new 2017 15″ MacBook Pros on sale for $250-$300 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and Adorama charges sales tax in NJ and NY only: – 15″ 2.8GHz Touch Bar MacBook Pro Space Gray (MPTR2LL/A): $... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Retail Sales Associate / Service Wri...
Job DescriptioniStore is the premier retailer of Apple products and solutions. We're looking for dedicated individuals with a passion to simplify and enhance the Read more
Integration Technician, *Apple* - Zones, In...
…adapted, and grown for over 30 years. Position Overview The Apple Integration Technician will be responsible for performing customer specific configuration Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions - Apple,...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
*Apple* Part Time Reseller Specialist - *Ap...
…in a reseller store, you help create the energy and excitement around Apple products, providing the right solutions and getting products into customers' hands. You Read more
*Apple* Technical Specialist - Apple, Inc. (...
…customers purchase our products, you're the one who helps them get more out of their new Apple technology. Your day in the Apple Store is filled with a range of Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.